The Old Man And The Pool

By Mike Birbiglia

Vivian Beaumont Theatre (Also Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles)

Directed by Seth Barrish

Costumes by Toni Leslie James, Lighting by Aaron Copp, Projections by Hana S. Kim, Sound by Kai Harada


Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

Mike Birbiglia

“Performed on an attractive, deceptively simple set designed by Beowulf Boritt – a curved, wave-like backdrop displays swimming pool tiles, medical graph charts and more.” ~Greg Evans, Deadline

“Beowulf Boritt’s spare set is dominated by a graceful, wavelike structure that looks like graph paper and upon which reflective water is sometimes projected.” ~Elisabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times

“But the comedian—directed as usual by Seth Barrish, with input from This American Life’s Ira Glass—delivers it with becomingly sly modesty, smiling and shrugging at his own jokes while poised against Beowulf Boritt’s curving set (which suggests a wave of a graph paper).” ~Adam Feldman, Time Out New York

“And it’s beautiful: exquisitely written, performed and designed, with all of Birbiglia’s characteristic ear for tone and rhythm. The backdrop behind him, hung deliberately askew, becomes a slide, a medical display, a gurney, and the watery, tiled bottom of a pool.” ~Kathryn VanArendonk, Vulture

“He’s the rare self-described extrovert who somehow seems more comfortable on the edge of the pool — or the curved-wave set by Beowulf Boritt that suggests both a wave and a pool’s bottom.” ~ Thom Geier, The Wrap

“There's no sudden deluge of toys dropping from above like in The New One, but Beowulf Boritt provides an ingenious set regardless. It's a curved monolith of graph paper that lighting designer Aaron Copp and projection designer Hana S. Kim turn into the blue-tiled floor of a swimming pool. Toni-Leslie James costumes Birbiglia in an aqua-colored button down that mirrors the pattern, a simple yet ingenious touch. There is no need to fill the massive stage; in fact, it's effectively sliced in half. By doing so, the production achieves a level of intimacy I've never seen in that space, and The Old Man and the Pool is all the better for it.” ~David Gordon, Theatermania

“Beowulf Boritt's set, a curved wall taken from the bottom of a pool wall, cuts the enormous Beaumont stage in half, pushing the action downstage to good effect.” ~David Barbour, Lighting and Sound America

“Standing beneath a giant sheet of chlorine-green graph paper that, depending on the lighting, looks like a huge wave or a pool full of water, Birbiglia jokes that he doesn’t have a swimmer’s body.” ~Peter Debruge, Variety

“Beowulf Boritt’s clever, minimalist set.” ~ CitiTourNY

“Birbiglia wears blue street clothes and stands before a giant curved wall, designed by Beowulf Boritt, that recalls a pool and briefly doubles as a slip-and-slide.” ~Joe Dziemianowicz, NY Theater Guide

“Standing, sitting or sprawling on a blue-checkered set by Beowulf Boritt that looks like a cross between a pool and a medical graph, Birbiglia explains that his memories of past physical exertion are not happy ones.” ~ Jonathan Mandell, New York Theater

“Beowulf Boritt has transformed the stage into a blue wash, backed by an aqua-and-white checked panel that curves above Birbiglia like a skateboarder’s ramp and fills the house with a swimming pool-like incandescence (with lighting by Aaron Copp). It’s hard to say what this background is made of, but at one point the actor astonishes us by springing off it like a vertical trampoline.” ~Steven Suskin, NY Stage Review

“Scenic designer Beowulf Boritt’s simple single set piece — a giant sheet of teal graph paper curved centerstage — symbolizes an entire pool, or a surfable wave. It towers over Birbiglia but also provides a strange form of concave protection as he pours out his soul.” ~Brittani Samuel, Broadway News

"The sleek production, directed by Seth Barrish and ensconced in an indoor pool environment created by scenic designer Beowulf Boritt." ~Charles McNulty, LA Times